March 19th, 2019
Orthodontic treatment should begin earlier than most parents are apt to assume. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment should start at around seven years of age.
Drs. Maoloni and Pope can evaluate your child’s existing and incoming teeth early on to determine whether treatment might be necessary or not.
What is early orthodontic treatment?
Early orthodontic treatment usually begins when a child is eight or nine years old. In stage one, bite problems such as underbites and the jaw’s growth pattern are corrected. It can also help to make room in the mouth for the permanent teeth to take their proper places as they come in, which reduces the chance that the patient will require extractions later, due to overcrowding.
Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?
If you notice any of the following characteristics in your son or daughter, you may want to have a chat with Drs. Maoloni and Pope.
- Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
- Late loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
- Your child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
- Your child is a mouth breather
- Front teeth are crowded (you probably wouldn’t see this until your child is about seven or eight)
- Protruding teeth, typically in the front
- Biting or chewing difficulties
- A speech impediment
- Your child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
- Your child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb
What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?
There are many benefits to early orthodontic treatment. One of the biggest is that, because a child’s jaw and bones are soft and pliable, corrective procedures such as braces can work much faster than they do for adults.
Treatment at our Flossmoor and New Lenox, IL office can enable your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, or surgery in adulthood. Early orthodontic care will give your son or daughter a healthy, stable smile.
March 12th, 2019
If you’ve never been to an orthodontist before, you might be wary of what to expect during your first visit. Your dentist may have recommended an orthodontic appliance if it could improve the state of your oral health. More often, you may suspect that you or your child should have orthodontic work done if the time is right financially.
Understanding the various options your orthodontist can perform will be helpful to know before your appointment.
Your initial appointment usually lasts at least an hour. It’s common that diagnostic work will need to be done. This might include getting X-rays so Drs. Maoloni and Pope can better understand the overall structure of your mouth. A quick mold of the mouth may also be taken if braces are a possibility.
Your first appointment is intended to find out how we can efficiently give you a great smile! Here’s a list of common questions you might ask during your first visit:
- Is now the right time for treatment, or should it wait?
- What is the estimated length of time for the treatment?
- How much should I expect to pay? What are the payment options?
- What can I do to prevent or minimize pain?
- Is it likely that I will wear extra appliances in addition to braces to correct my overbite, underbite, or other problems?
- Are there specific foods I will need to avoid?
- Will braces prevent me from playing my favorite sport or musical instrument?
- How can I keep my teeth clean with braces?
- How often will I be expected to come in for checkups and other appointments?
Don’t be afraid to ask these and other questions before you or your child commits to getting braces. Drs. Maoloni and Pope and our team are happy to answer any of them before or after your visit.
Once you’ve had your initial consultation, our team will be here throughout the entire process if any problems arise. We look forward to seeing you at your first appointment in our Flossmoor and New Lenox, IL office!
March 5th, 2019
Do you ever find yourself gnawing at your nails? Nail-biting is a very common and difficult to break habit which usually has its beginnings in childhood. It can leave your fingers and nail beds red and swollen. But if you think that your nails are the only ones getting roughed up by nail-biting you'd be mistaken—so are your teeth!
According to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry, those who bite their nails, clench their teeth, or chew on pencils are at much higher risk to develop bruxism (unintentional grinding of the teeth). Bruxism can lead to tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, receding gums, headaches, and general facial pain.
Those are some nasty sounding side effects from chewing on your nails. Most nail-biting is a sign of stress or anxiety and its something you should deal with. So what steps can you take if you have a nail-biting habit?
There are several things you can do to ease up on nail-biting:
- Trim your nails shorter and/or get regular manicures – Trimming your nails shorter is an effective remedy. In so doing, they'll be less tempting and more difficult to bite on. If you also get regular manicures, you’ll be less likely to ruin the investment you’ve made in your hands and fingernails!
- Find a different kind of stress reduction – Try meditation, deep breathing, practicing qigong or yoga, or doing something that will keep your hands occupied like squeezing a stress ball or playing with a yo-yo.
- Wear a bitter-tasting nail polish – When your nails taste awful, you won't bite them! Clear or colored, it doesn't matter. This is also a helpful technique for helping children get over the habit.
- Figure out what triggers your nail-biting – Sometimes it's triggered by stress or anxiety and other times it can be a physical stressor, like having hang nails. Knowing what situations cause you to bite your nails will help you to avoid them and break the habit.
- Wear gloves or bandages on your fingers – If you've tried the steps above and they aren't working, this technique can prove effective since your fingernails won't be accessible to bite.
If you're still having trouble with nail-biting after trying these self-help steps, it's best to consult your doctor, dermatologist, or Drs. Maoloni and Pope. For some, it may also be the sign of a deeper psychological or emotional problem.
Whatever the cause, nail-biting is a habit you need to break for your physical and emotional well-being. If you have any questions about the effects it can have on your oral health, please don't hesitate to ask Drs. Maoloni and Pope during your next visit to our Flossmoor and New Lenox, IL office.
February 26th, 2019
When you start wearing braces, it can become a challenge to clean certain areas of your mouth. If these areas are neglected for long periods of time, though, decay and stains can form on your teeth.
Your mouth will require extra attention while you have your braces on. This can include using a special toothbrush to reach those spots, flossing every day, getting fluoride treatments, avoiding certain foods, and making sure to visit your dentist. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to prevent decay during treatment.
When you get your braces on, Drs. Maoloni and Pope will give you an interdental toothbrush that can be used to get to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. The brush has bristles that can easily remove food residue stuck between the wires in your mouth. We may also suggest using a WaterPik, which pulses a pressurized stream of water to remove excess food particles.
Brushing and flossing every day should always be a part of your oral health regimen, but this becomes especially crucial when you have braces. If food gets stuck between braces and sits on your teeth, decay and staining will start to occur. Drs. Maoloni and Pope and our team recommend flossing at least once a day, and brushing and using mouthwash after every meal as long as you have braces.
If you don’t have the time, make sure at least to swish your mouth really well with water after you eat. It’s especially important to follow these steps after consuming sugary foods or beverages. It’s best to avoid sweets altogether when you have braces.
Making sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year for a routine cleaning can also help to prevent any decay from damaging your teeth while your teeth are encased in braces. Your dentist will remove any plaque or tartar that’s built up since your last cleaning.
Prevention is key when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy during orthodontic care with braces. Follow these tips and you’ll keep your teeth beautiful and healthy for the day your new smile is finally revealed!